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Preparing for Harsh Winter

Kanchi Gurung sits inside her insulated house, covering herself with a blanket as the temperature in her village of Laprak is dwindling day by day. Her original house which is almost 30 minutes away from where she is currently living was destroyed by the earthquake on 25th April.

After the earthquake she started to live in a tent with her neighbors. However, the tent itself was not enough to withstand the monsoon rains and the freezing temperatures in the winter.

Kanchi is one of the vulnerable people affected by the earthquake, identified by CARE. She is a 70 years old single women living alone. Her husband died about 8 years ago and her son left her in search of better work. Since then she has been living without any financial and emotional support from her family members.

Kanchi’s expressions clearly reflects her loneliness as she says “I am getting old and weak, and there is one to take care of me”. She represents a large portion of Nepalese society, where elderly people are left without any economical and emotional support as most of their children have moved abroad or to the cities in search of a better work opportunity. “I am just finding a way to get through this life; I hope this will be over soon”, says Kanchi.

This is a reality for many elder people in Nepal living without the support from their families. Add to this fact that those people have now become homeless after the earthquake. Although, saddened by her reality Kanchi greets every visitors with a warm smile. For an old lady like Kanchi, she is energetic; she participates in the food for work program organized by an aid agency in her village. “I do not have any source of income, so I depend on the food provided by various organization in my village”, says Kanchi. She further adds “I was worried that I have to live in the tents during winter, but now I have this house which is very warm”.

For many of the people in Laprak, the biggest worry right now is to survive the winter season as most of them are living under CGI sheets. This has added up huge economic burden to the people as they want to construct permanent structure, but they do not have enough resources to build their homes.

Kanchi’s house has become the center of attraction for the people of Laprak as her house represents a model insulated house provided by CARE with the funding support from UKaid. She is now living inside a much warmer house insulated with foams which is able to protect her from the cold.   

“My house is much warmer than any other houses in the village”, says Kanchi. The model insulated house has helped Kanchi in reducing pain in her knee joints. “I was buried inside the rubbles for almost half and hours; my knees were hurt and the cold was making my pain even worse, but now that I have an insulated house and warm blankets, my pain has reduced” adds Kanchi.

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